Sebastian Vettel believes it is clear to see that Scuderia Ferrari are not as quick as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport in wet weather conditions after a tough Friday at the Circuit of the Americas.
The German was almost two seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton in Free Practice 1 but admitted there is not a lot to learn from sessions like that.
“There’s not much you can learn from a session like the one we had today and it’s been the same for everyone,” said Vettel. “We didn’t do many quality laps but it was clear that on the wet we were not quick enough.”
Vettel faces more problems on Saturday after being awarded a three place gird penalty for failing to slow for red flags during Free Practice 1 and admit there is nothing he can do about it now.
“As for the three-place grid penalty, I think that the stewards today were very specific in saying that my slowing down time was 27.7 seconds; I saw the red flag, had a look around to see whether there was any car stuck in the wall between turn 9 and 10, and slowed down to comply with the rules.
“They found it was too long a time, but I can’t do much about that.
“The rules are clear and we know them, but I think a situation like this happened just this time, in these weather conditions, and on the wet you would go slower anyway.”
Vettel was understandably upset about the outcome but has resigned himself to his fate. Now, all he can do is put his head down and try and mount the mother of all charges up the order.
But first, there is qualifying to think about and the sheer pace of the Mercedes. In a wet session on Friday, Lewis Hamilton was nearly 1.6 seconds faster than his teammate in 2nd.